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Outcomes Data

Undergraduate Programs

The newly adopted assessment plan (AY 2016-17) for the undergraduate programs includes the collection of course-embedded assessment data. This data collection will begin spring semester 2017. Program assessment outcomes data will be posted here as they become available.

Supplementary Outcomes Data

  1. IDEA course evaluation data

 Summary data from course evaluations provided by IDEA are available at the Departmental rather than the program level; these are summarized in the table below. These scores measure student’s perceptions of their progress on learning objectives and the quality of the course and its instructor rather than objective measures of learning. They are especially valuable in identifying what students find to be outstanding teaching (higher and especially much higher than average) as well as below standard teaching (lower and especially much lower). Scores in the “much lower” range merit a response from the Department Head, starting with identifying what students in the course perceive to not be meeting their educational expectations.

ENVS students find their progress on relevant learning objectives to be substantially better than the IDEA Database and USU norms, with a few problems in spring 2016 semester than have been corrected by changing instructors. They rate over 80% of ENVS instructors similar or higher than the IDEA and USU norms, and find the level of excellence of ENVS courses to be quite substantially higher than the IDEA and USU norms. The averages among these three measures show in fall semester 2015 for ENVS, compared to an anticipated 10%, 20%, 40%, 20%, 10% distribution, 22% much higher, 48% higher, 26% similar, 4% lower and 0% much lower. This places ENVS courses far above the anticipated performance level. For Spring semester 2016 ENVS student perceptions of ENVS courses are somewhat less outstanding with 12% much higher, 35% higher, 41% similar, 6% lower, and 6% much lower.  IDEA data thus show that students have a very favorable perception of the ENVS courses they take and indicate that ENVS faculty are very good teachers in student’s eyes.

 

Distribution of IDEA scores in ENVS relative to the IDEA Database and Utah State University.

 

Much

Higher

 

Higher

 

Similar

 

Lower

Much

Lower

Percentile Range

90-100%

70-

90%

30-

70%

10-

30%

Bottom10%

Expected Percentage

10

20

40

20

10

Relative to IDEA Database

 

 

 

 

 

Progress on Relevant Objectives

 

 

 

 

 

     Fall 2015 semester

    22

57

22

0

0

     Spring 2016 semester

12

41

29

12

6

Excellence of Teacher

 

 

 

 

 

     Fall 2015 semester

4

35

57

0

4

     Spring 2016 semester

6

35

53

0

6

Excellence of Course

 

 

 

 

 

     Fall 2015 semester

17

39

30

13

0

     Spring 2016 semester

6

47

24

12

12

Average of three

 

 

 

 

 

     Fall 2015 semester

22

48

26

4

0

     Spring 2016 semester

12

35

41

6

6

Relative to USU

 

 

 

 

 

Progress on Relevant Objectives

 

 

 

 

 

     Fall 2015 semester

26

52

22

0

0

     Spring 2016 semester

12

41

29

12

6

Excellence of Teacher

 

 

 

 

 

     Fall 2015 semester

13

39

35

9

4

     Spring 2016 semester

12

41

41

0

6

Excellence of Course

 

 

 

 

 

     Fall 2015 semester

17

43

30

9

0

     Spring 2016 semester

6

53

29

0

12

Average of three

 

 

 

 

 

     Fall 2015 semester

22

48

26

4

0

     Spring 2016 semester

12

35

41

6

6

 

  1. Exit interviews data

Feedback from student exit interviews as well as focus groups held with undergraduate students during the strategic planning process indicate that ENVS courses and faculty are well-received by USU students, but curricular integration across degree programs has flaws. While perspectives among students naturally vary, a central theme was well articulated by one student:

“What I’ve noticed throughout my 5 years as an ENVS student is that there is a lot of overlap in course materials (e.g., ENVS 2340, 3330, 4000). I believe this is also what some of the other students meant about us being very well informed on the history of humans and the environment, and not so much on the skills aspect of it.”

Additional feedback indicates that students desire more instruction in skills such as GIS, economics, legal interpretation, survey design, and communicating and engaging with stakeholders.  This theme has guided our revision of the curricula in Geography and Environmental Studies.

 

  1. Alumni survey data (collected by USU Career Services)

Career Services Annual and Graduate Reports for 2013-14 and 2014-15 show that ENVS graduates are successful in gaining employment, with 81.3% of graduates employed in each year surveyed.  ENVS alumni are working throughout the U.S., about half in Utah, with the majority holding titles the reflect their undergraduate training. These data are comparable to the Quinney College of Natural Resources and substantially better than employment rates for USU students as whole.  From 2013-14 to 2014-15, there was a substantial shift of non-employed graduates to continuing education status, with no ENVS graduates unemployed/still seeking in 2014-15.  Note that the response rate on the alumni surveys that generate these data is 55% in 2013-14 and 56% in 2014-15 for QCNR.

 

Employment status of QCNR graduates.

 

 

Employed

Unemployed/

Still Seeking

Continuing

Education

 

 

USU

 

2013-14

66.0%

11.1%

22.9%

2014-15

66.5%

8.9%

24.5%

 

 

QCNR

 

2013-14

77.9%

11.8%

10.3%

2014-15

88.2%

2.0%

9.8%

 

 

ENVS

 

2013-14

81.3%

12.5%

6.3%

2014-15

81.3%

0.0%

18.7%

 

Graduate Programs

Data on applications, acceptances, matriculations, and graduations in five ENVS masters and two PhD programs from AY 2011-12 to 2015-16 shows 169 total applications, of which 88 (52%) were accepted, of which 37 (42%) matriculated.  There is thus a need to improve the proportion of accepted students who choose to begin graduate school in ENVS. Graduations (37) equal to matriculations is an indicator of consistency over time and a high retention rate. 

Among the five master’s programs, Bioregional Planning has been ceded to LAEP and Ecology, in which ENVS plays a secondary role, had only 1 applicant and no acceptances.  Human Dimensions of Ecosystem Science and Management (renamed Environment and Society in 2015), Geography, and Recreation Resource Management (RRM) each received 25-52 applications, accepting 11 to 27, and matriculating 4 to 10 in the five-year period.  The low proportion of students accepted in Geography who decided to enroll (7 of 27; 26%), and the low number of graduations demonstrates a need for improvement in the pipeline from applicants (52) to graduations (2), compared to 15 graduations from 30 applicants for HDESM/Environment and Society and 6 graduations from 25 applicants in RRM.  Among these Masters programs, mean years to graduation varies from 2.5 years for Geography to 3.5 years for HDESM/E&S, with the vast majority completing their degrees within the three-year target window.

At the PhD level, HDESM (renamed Environment and Society in 2015) is the primary program in ENVS, with participation in Ecology as well. Data show a pipeline of 27 applicants yielding 13 acceptances, yielding 5 matriculations over the 5-year period.  Eight graduations took a mean of 5.38 years, a reasonable mark, with half within the target period of 4 years from Masters to PhD and 6 years from Bachelors to PhD.  One PhD in Ecology graduated in 5 years.

These data indicate two areas in need of improvement: recruiting more and better applicants, and getting a higher percentage of those accepted to come. ENVS has upgraded its recruitment efforts by instituting a Graduate Selection Committee formed of three rotating faculty, and soliciting by e-mail from the GRE-taker database, among other measures.  Comparing applicants to GRE-taker solicitations provides evidence that this was effective when first employed in 2015-16.  Offering to pay travel expenses for top candidates to visit is the next step to be taken, especially in Geography where matriculations rates are low.

DATA ON GRADUATE STUDENT PUBLISHING AND PRESENTATIONS WILL BE AVAILABLE AFTER JANUARY 10.

 

Pipeline of applicants, acceptances, matriculations and graduations in ENVS graduate programs.

Academic Year

2011-12

2012-13

2013-14

2014-15

2015-16

Total

Applications

 

MS Bioregional Planning

5

2

6

3

5

21

MS Ecology

1

1

1

1

3

7

MS HDESM/Environment and Society

6

9

5

4

6

30

MS Geography

5

19

9

12

7

52

MS Recreation Resources Mngt

5

6

5

7

2

25

PhD HDESM/Environment and Society

3

8

5

7

4

27

PhD Ecology

1

2

1

0

3

7

Total Applications

26

47

32

34

30

169

Acceptances

 

MS Bioregional Planning

5

0

6

2

2

15

MS Ecology

0

0

0

0

1

1

MS HDESM/Environment and Society

4

7

2

1

4

18

MS Geography

3

6

5

7

6

27

MS Recreation Resources Mngt

2

3

1

4

1

11

PhD HDESM/Environment and Society

2

1

4

4

2

13

PhD Ecology

0

1

0

0

2

3

Total Acceptances

16

18

18

18

18

88

Matriculations

 

MS Bioregional Planning

3

0

3

2

2

10

MS Ecology

0

0

0

0

0

0

MS HDESM/Environment and Society

2

3

1

1

3

10

MS Geography

2

2

0

1

2

7

MS Recreation Resources Mngt

2

0

1

1

0

4

PhD HDESM/Environment and Society

1

0

1

2

1

5

PhD Ecology

0

0

0

0

1

1

Total Matriculations

10

5

6

7

9

37

Graduations

 

MS Bioregional Planning

2

2

0

1

0

5

MS Ecology

0

0

0

0

0

0

MS HDESM/Environment and Society

3

4

2

3

3

15

MS Geography

0

1

0

0

1

2

MS Recreation Resources Mngt

3

1

2

0

0

6

PhD HDESM/Environment and Society

1

1

0

4

2

8

PhD Ecology

0

1

0

0

0

1

Total Graduations

9

10

4

8

6

37

 

Time to degree in in ENVS graduate programs.

 

Time to Degree

 

 

Mean

Percent Below target1

MS Bioregional Planning

2.6

80%

MS Ecology

na

na

MS HDESM/Environment and Society

3.53

80%

MS Geography

2.5

100%

MS Recreation Resources Mngt

2.67

83%

PhD HDESM/Environment and Society

5.38

50%

PhD Ecology

5

0

1    Target is 3 years for masters, 4 years from masters to PhD and 6 years from Bachelors to PhD.